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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sine, cosine, tangent

If you've ever seen what a sine wave looks like, you'll have also seen how my mood progressed through the course of yesterday.

Starting from the middle line, there was a progressive rise in mood as I had an uncharacteristically productive day at work. I wrote an implementation plan, and solved a long-standing problem with an AS400 application which I traced back to a cheeky auto-correct in Microsoft Word.

Towards the end of the day, at the peak of my sine wave, I checked the forum for my running club to see what the evening's run would have in store:

"Do you like crossing rivers?"
- Er, no.

"Running through waist high grass in a scene reminiscent of the paddy fields in Platoon?"
- No again.

"Running through silage? No??"
- Well anticipated...

"Well don't turn up this Wednesday then. If yes then meet at [insert meeting point] at 6.30pm. Only K knows the true horror, he survived, so you can too!!!"
"See ya then"
- I'm not so sure you will

What goes up, as they say, must go down. So it was for my sine wave.

Ever since the evenings have been light enough to run on unlit country lanes on a Wednesday evening, the running co-ordinators have gone to town with their off-road, cross-country runs.

Whilst many of the more serious outdoorsy runners are lapping it up, this is not a welcome change for the Witho. I run on tarmac roads, lanes, pavements or decent forest tracks. I have no interest whatsoever in running through long grass with uneven ground underfoot. Neither do I care much for scrambling over electric fences and stiles. Leaping over streams and scrambling up muddy banks gives me no pleasure whatsoever. On a walk, maybe. On a run, absolutely not...

Running, for me, is about establishing and maintaining a rhythm. You can't do either if you're constantly worried about what's underfoot, if you keep having to stop to clamber over a fence here, a stile there.

I posted a reply on the forum, suggesting that I would set up a splinter group to do a road run instead. I was asked where my sense of adventure was...

When I turned up at the meeting place, I chatted to some of the girls who were equally concerned about the run. We hatched a plan to do our own run, at our own pace. Then bottled out at the last minute and reluctantly went along with the group. A couple of girls just went home at that point. Sensible girls.

At the moment we go through the gate into the field of long grass and bumpy earth beneath my feet, my sine wave passes through the middle line on its downward journey. As the wave approaches its trough, I'm nearly in tears as I scuttle tentatively across the field, on my own because I'm so far behind. The patronising "well done"s and "keep going"s from the guys don't help.

It was the worst run I've ever had the displeasure of experiencing. I take no pleasure from correctly predicting that I would hate it. I don't want to come home from a run and cry onto the BF's shoulder. I don't want to hate running. I don't want to hate myself for being so crap at it.

So I get home and languish in my trough for a while. The shower helps, as does the Chinese food. By the time I switch on to Channel 4 for the regular torture that is "Grand Designs" my wave is back at its peak. I'm like Sisyphus at the top of his mountain, triumphant for a brief moment with his rock.

As I watch, the wave, like Sisyphus' rock, begins its descent again as it always does when I watch the programme. Partly through envy, partly through disbelief that some people can just spend 1.9 million pounds on a home, hardly batting an eyelid. A couple who believe that they require 6 toilets in their home. What kind of world are we living in?

Halfway through the programme, with the wave again at the middle line, I realise that I haven't yet made the soup I was planning to make, for which BF had prepared the vegetables whilst I was out running. The wave descends anew...

Lurking again in my trough, I prepare the soup while the BF does the washing up. We talk, he reassures, my wave begins a slow ascent.

I check my email before bed. There's a message from my translation course tutor who is returning my first assignment (the first translation I've done since university - a good 10 years ago)

[tangent]

In case you didn't know, I signed up for a home study translation course to prepare me for the Institute of Linguists' Diploma in Translation, mainly to see if I'm suited to a possible career in translation.

[/tangent]


Here's the message, with names changed to protect the innocent:

"Dear Witho

This is an extremely impressive translation – accurate, right register, coherence, sentence structure, vocab choices etc. So I have been scratching around for some comments to make!

A few ticks for especially pleasing things and some alternatives for you to consider.
There were one or two things missed out from the ST [Ed: Source Text] though in some cases these may be due to your conscious decisions.

Don’t hesitate to get back to me if anything unclear. I look forward to your next assignment.

[insert tutor's name]"


Wave going up - no sign of stopping.

P.S. There is no cosine in this post. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.



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